In response to the Government’s announcement of 12 new Institutes of Technology set up across the country to boost the nation’s skills, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:
“This announcement is a good down payment on what must become a long-term strategy for investing more in technical skills. Our prosperity and success as a nation requires greater focus on boosting productivity and that will need far more opportunities for people to gain the skills which will support them in the labour market. These 12 IoTs will help, but far more investment is needed right across the country.
“Colleges will play a significant role in every IoT by building on their track record of improving skills. However, there are many more colleges than the successful ones which have suffered from capital spending in colleges being at a 20-year low because of reductions in government grants and commercial lending. The £170m for Institutes of Technology is welcome but we probably need another 50 or 60 IoTs in the next decade.
“Across the country, colleges are delivering learning and skills opportunities to more than two million people. This is despite having their budgets slashed by 30% over the last decade. Recent AoC research highlighted that 6 in 10 SMEs say that finding employees with the right skills is their biggest concern, with 51% finding it more difficult than five years ago. Employers said that it is colleges who are best placed to skill the future workforce.
“It is vital that we invest in them all sufficiently if we are to have the skilled workforce we require going forward. The upcoming Spending Review and the imminent work on the Post-18 Review offer must result in more investment if we want to truly be successful as an economy, and as a society in which everyone can flourish.”